fire safety training in the workplace

Without doubt the most common kind of questions we get asked here at the Fire Training Company are around the issue of whether a business needs to train all their employees in fire safety. The short answer is ‘yes’. You must ensure that all employees are aware of fire safety and that will usually mean training. I say ‘usually’ because there is a bit of common sense needed. For example, you wouldn’t expect two people sharing a single office with one exit, to need Fire Warden training. However, the law is very clear about fire safety for employees and it states that suitable measures must be in place to ensure that staff are appropriately informed of the fire procedures. Sensibly then, a suitably informed team is achieved most easily by providing fire safety training in the workplace (to an appropriate level) and recording what was done to ensure the team were fully aware of the fire procedures, so that you can evidence it.

For the employer then, fire safety training for employees is something that must be done. However, we often come across employers that see it as a ‘necessary evil’. Yes, it has a cost in terms of both a financial outlay (although this is often less than people think) and it takes up time for employees to be away from their jobs, although an online option is available which makes this less of a problem. However, if you do not consider the benefits fully, it is no wonder that training employees in fire safety is sometimes seen as a hoop you need to jump through to meet the requirements of the law.

Fire Safety Tips in the Workplace

fire tips in the workplace
  • Within any business someone will be the ‘Responsible Person’ and this is usually one of the directors or owner. When it says ‘responsible’ it means exactly that and they are accountable should there be an incident involving fire safety. If there were to be a fire, then the responsible person would probably need to demonstrate due diligence and that would be hard to do with incomplete training records or inadequately trained staff. The more that you can show you have taken appropriate precautions the better.

  • The cost of a fire is catastrophic for most businesses. When a business suffers a fire related incident it can mean financial ruin. The insurance may well pay out but the down time, the logistics of replacing valuable equipment, the need to rebuild, repair or just re-decorate and many other factors can potentially cause closure. A trained person is far more likely to respond quickly and appropriately to an incident and not only that but, as the next section discusses, be your best defence against a potential fire.

  • When you train your team in fire safety in the workplace you will probably need additional training for some of them to become designated Fire Marshals. There is nothing to stop you training more of your team as Fire Marshals though and the better people are trained, the more proactive they become. This could cost a lot less than you think and in some cases even exactly the same as training the lower level. There are two very real benefits to having more Fire Marshals trained level people than you need.
    1. You are never short of Fire Marshals regardless of the circumstances. While you will still need to have designated Marshals you will also have enough trained people to cover as needed.

    2. Most importantly you will increase the level of proactive fire prevention in your whole team. When you have a culture of fire prevention in the employees, they will develop ownership of the needs of fire safety. Our trainers are on site 5 days a week in various business from nursery schools to major industrial sites and they regularly see infringements of fire safety rules such as cluttered exits and out of place safety equipment. It is hardly surprising in a busy workplace that these things happen but it is quite a scary thought that nobody had solved the problem. A proactive, well trained, team may just be the difference between a fire starting and it being prevented in the first place.
  • Well trained staff have higher job satisfaction than untrained ones and that leads to better retention. Ask any human resources professional and they will tell you that training really does make employees feel valued, and that generates loyalty and job satisfaction. Training is also something that contributes to a positive employee culture which is known to increase performance.

Whatever you decide about fire safety training for employees, you must act on it, ensure it is in place and that all your team are trained. So rather than look on it as a necessary evil to be completed, why not look at it from the point of view of the potential benefits to the business?

Fire safety training for your employees, particularly fire marshal training, not only means they will react better if there is a fire, but they may well prevent one in the first place.